Do you really need that…?
Most people are bombarded with 4000-10,000 marketing messages each day.
Living in a culture where keeping up with the Joneses has become more competitive than ever, we’re all overwhelmed.
If you’re an entrepreneur hanging out on Facebook or Instagram, you likely feel constantly behind, not good enough, or like a failure.
In a world where everyone is talking about their incredible 6-, 7-, and 8-figures businesses, you might feel like something is seriously wrong with you if you’re not hyping yourself equally loud.
Apart from the fact that many people are lying about their success (or even just slightly bending the truth to look better), we should ask ourselves if massive wealth is what we truly need to be happy.
We’ve been sold onto this idea that we can and should have it all, otherwise, we’re wasting our potential living meaningless lives.
But is this true?
What if this is a fabrication of mass media that has led to a collective hysteria we’ve all bought into?
What if more is not more?
We’re all different, and we all have different values. So why are we trying to fit into one mold of success as it is defined by popular culture?
In the past six months (since my life has taken this painful and unexpected shift from being married to my best friend to being all alone again), I’ve been asking myself these big questions.
One question stood out: what do I need to be happy?
The first thing that came up was community. Friends.
Next up is work. Being able to read and write all day and getting paid handsomely for it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Finally, my home. As Virginia Woolf so aptly wrote, a woman needs a room of her own.
Of course, there’s always more. Without desire, we don’t evolve. I want to keep growing my business, serve more clients, and enjoy little luxuries like regular massages, quality clothes, and the occasional fancy restaurant visit for fun.
But there’s so much that I don’t need.
-I don’t need a car. Or a house in the country. Or to be jet-setting around the world.
-I don’t need to hire a big team. Or build a multi-million dollar company. Or be on Oprah.
-I don’t need to have children. Or designer clothes. Or the perfect fitness body.
Looking back, I realize that I had all these aspirations for two reasons:
1. I’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest looking for “inspiration” from other people’s perfectly curated lives (instead of listening to my own heart). This made me feel like I’m not measuring up if I don’t own a big house, have two beautiful kids, and adopt a white Samoyed for them to play with.
2. I tried to get the core desired feeling of worthiness from the outside. The approval of my family, partner, and friends lay in being perfect for them (or so I thought). Once I’ve accomplished all these things, then I can finally feel worthy. Only then will I truly be good enough, accepted, and loveable.
So my inner dialogue went something like this:
When I turn 40, I need to have a log house in the forest, be a published author, make at least half a million Euros, and mother my (imaginary) children consciously… otherwise I’m an unworthy failure.
Can you imagine how unhappy I made myself trying to be this perfect all the time?
These thoughts brought on anxiety, a false sense of urgency, and a feeling that I was constantly falling behind.
But life always takes care.
This plan was not in alignment with my Soul, so things didn’t turn out that way.
Looking back, I can see that this is not what I need to be happy.
I inquired A LOT into who I am and what I need lately.
What is my truth? Not my husband’s, not my family’s, not the online world’s… but mine.
I concluded that I feel most nourished by living a simple, minimalist life. Because I'm so highly sensitive, everything else makes me feel overwhelmed.
Too many activities, possessions, and people don’t leave me enough time to process.
To process thoroughly and be truly creative, I need a lot of white space–in my calendar, my home, and my head.
White space (also in the form of silence) allows me to get into contact with my Higher Self, where all creativity and ideas come from.
This holds true even when it comes to decorating my apartment. Where common wisdom tells you that you should hang pictures on every wall, own houseplants, and install at least one bookshelf, these things make me restless.
So I released even more books. Now I own a book capsule with no more than 20 books. To bring in nature, I forage branches from the forest and put them into vases. And I made one acrylic painting that I’ll hang up in my living room. That’s it.
With this, I invite you to ask yourself…
What do YOU need to be happy?
-Do you need a big house, an expensive car, or the latest iPhone?
-Do you need to fly all around the world and document your adventures on Facebook?
-Do you even need to use Social Media? (I don’t, and I’m much happier for it. All that digital noise made me feel overstimulated, like an autistic child on a loud playground).
-Do you need a TV, Netflix, and Amazon Prime?
-Do you need an online community, a Hay House book deal, and NYT bestseller status?
-Do you need a gym membership, 13 handbags, and a library full of books?
-Do you need one main partner and two other lovers?
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of these things. I’m just inviting you to reflect on what’s true for YOU.
Maybe you do need all of those things. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you want some but not others.
Instead of having 12 casual friends, maybe your heart feels lighter with just one or two close friends.
Instead of following trends, maybe you’d feel more confident developing a signature style that expresses your unique essence.
Or, instead of going to Burning Man every summer, maybe you need to also go on a silent meditation retreat by yourself.
The key, I think, is to continue asking these types of questions.
-What are YOUR priorities?
-What do YOU value?
-Where do YOU want to focus your time, energy, and resources?
-What do YOU need to be happy?
Stay awake and curious, without succumbing to what everyone else is doing.
To date, we’re almost 8 billion people on the planet. (Which we are, by the way, killing with our endless consumerism.)
Maybe we don’t all need to constantly fly across the world, buy new cars, and throw out a pound of food per day.
Speaking of which… do you really need three meals a day?
Now, I get that as someone who works in marketing, my rant against consumerism may sound counterintuitive.
Just like you can be into fashion without becoming a shopaholic whose walk-in closet is a remodeled kitchen, so can you be into advertising and not agree with everything some marketers do.
In my business, I choose to support only people and brands whose values align with mine.
Since I have the luxury of choosing my customers (as opposed to writers who are employed by agencies, for example), I decide to only work with entrepreneurs and brands whose mission is to raise consciousness on the planet.
If you’re such an entrepreneur, coach, or artist, and you need writing that can help you change the world, reach out. I’d love to support you!
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